The TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire 2023 group stages draw on Tuesday, April 19, 2022 will see both Kenya and Zimbabwe participate in the process despite having been suspended by FIFA from all football activities globally, CAF has confirmed.
The draw has been scheduled to take place on Tuesday in the studios of SuperSport in Johannesburg, South Africa on Tuesday at 17h30 GMT, with all 48 countries qualified to participate in the second round of the qualifiers seeded into four pots based on the official FIFA ranking released on 31 March, 2022.
According to CAF, both Kenya and Zimbabwe will participate in the draw on Tuesday despite their suspension by FIFA, but their participation in the qualifiers would be based on a condition that their suspensions are lifted by the world football governing body at least “two weeks before their first matchday of the qualifiers”.
“Kenya and Zimbabwe, who have been suspended by FIFA from all football activities globally, will also be included in the draw despite their temporary bans”, CAF announced in a publication on Monday.
“However, if the suspension is not lifted two weeks before their first matchday of the qualifiers, both associations will be considered as losers and eliminated from the competition”, the publication added.
CAF has however explained, that the two countries would be considered losers of their matches and eliminated from the competition, with the next two countries who will finish first and second of their groups qualifying to the tournament in Cote d’Ivoire.
“Consequently, their groups will be composed of three teams with the first and runner-up teams of those groups qualifying to the final tournament”, CAF stated.
To avoid the incident of having just two groups left in the groups that will contain Kenya and Zimbabwe in an event that their suspensions are not lifted before the CAF imposed deadline, the two countries will not be drawn into the same group.
“As a result of that decision, Kenya and Zimbabwe cannot be drawn in the same group in order to avoid having one group with only two teams in case the suspension on both associations is not lifted”, CAF added.
To recall, both Kenya and Zimbabwe football federations were suspended by FIFA in February due to government interference in the operations of the national football federations.
In the case of Kenya, the suspension which was announced by FIFA Presdident Gianni Infantino came after Sports Minister Amina Mohamed dissolved the Football Kenya Federation office in November 2021, and appointed Aaron Ringera, a retired judge to take charge of football activities in the country, putting the administration of football in the country into the hands of a Government appointee, a practice which violates FIFA’s regulations on Government interference. This was after the Kenya FA President, Nick Mwendwa, had been arrested and charged with misappropriation of funds from FIFA and the government, a charge which he denies.
Similarly, the Zimbabwe football federation was also dissolved by government in November last year and replaced with the Federation officials also accused of misappropriating money given to the association by the state for Zimbabwe’s participation at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals, and have been subjected to investigations.
Failure of the Governments of the countries have triggered the interim suspension by FIFA. The suspension would be lifted only if the governments agree to handover the running of football in the concerned countries back to into the hands of football people, who are elected into office by the Football Federations themselves. FIFA’s suspension will continue to stand until the administration of football in Kenya and Zimbabwe are handed back to the football federations.